January can be a really tough month for small businesses. You’ve just finished with the Christmas rush and while you’re still digesting that turkey, your invoices and bills are starting to roll in. You might have had extra seasonal expenses and unpaid invoices; and these added costs are arriving at around the same time as the tax bill. With all of this added to the probable drop in customer numbers; is it any wonder that January is making you feel a bit blue?
The first and possibly most important thing you need to do is prioritise your payments. If the lights go off in your restaurant your patrons aren’t going to be very happy… Figure out which payments need to be made urgently, your accountant should be able to help you with this. A lot of businesses have some flexibility if you’re struggling to pay all of your bills fully. See if any of them might be willing to work out a repayment schedule with you.
Make the Most of Quiet Time
If you’ve prepared for the downturn in foot traffic, January can be a great opportunity for you to do all of those things that seemed impossible while business was busy. Take some well-deserved time off, your staff should be able to handle the business when it’s quiet. Maybe now is the perfect time to get that refurbishment you’ve been thinking about. A fresh new look for the new year! January is a great time to do this as quiet time means you won’t disturb that many customers and hopefully it will boost business in February with people coming in to check out your new look. When it’s quiet is also the perfect opportunity to do those couple of tasks that are put on the backburner when it’s busy; for example, counting stock or some future planning.
While January is a great opportunity to plan for the upcoming upturn in business; what’s the harm in actively pursuing this? If you’ve decided to refurbish this should naturally boost your business but there are numerous other ways you can go about it. Use technology, such as social media, to promote special offers, sales, and even new products. Why not take advantage of customer’s desire to be healthy in the new year and promote healthy eating options? Pitch party services to industry peers who may have been too busy to have a staff Christmas party during the season.
Watching Cash Flow
Another very important thing to do when business is quiet, is to watch your cash flow. Understanding cash flow figures is the best early indicator if your business is really struggling. Don’t be afraid to look into your finance options while you’re waiting for your customers to return. GRID offers a cash advance service which allows repayments to be made in line with the ebb and flow of your business. GRID’s cash advance allows you to borrow up to €500,000 and repayments are made as a percentage of your credit/debit card sales. This could be a great finance option to fund that new refurbishment either.